Saturday, July 9, 2011

Letter from Annie and Pascal – who came to Palestine with the « Welcome to Palestine » campaign

Bethlehem, the 9th of July 2011 
We are a Parisian couple, 59 and 54 years old, with grown children. We have been interested in the Palestinian issue since a long time. As French citizens, we cannot stand the cowardly support of our governments to Israeli politics anymore, as well as the impunity that this state continues to enjoy. We feel the need to publicly demonstrate our indignation and to separate ourselves from the politicians who supposedly represent us.
We wished to join the « Welcome to Palestine » mission of the 8th of July, because it is a beautiful opportunity to visit and meet Palestinians. It is our first trip to Palestine.
Today, a day after our arrival, we joined a group of young Palestinians abroad a bus to join a demonstration organized by the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) in Qalandia, in front of the wall, for the commemoration of the condemnation of the wall by the International Tribunal in The Hague.
Annie: My first surprise was the young age of the demonstrators and their warm welcome. The presence of a young Palestinian women was a very important element to me. The demonstration took place in a good ambiance, people were happy and serious at once. I felt no aggressiveness from these youth.
I felt immediately in solidarity of their movement and held with conviction the banner ‘THE WALL MUST FALL’.
The young demonstrators were very interested by the reasons of our presence amongst them. They were moved that Europeans share this action, are interested in their situation, the wall, their locking up, a young brother of 16 in prison for a year without visit, or a father, or an uncle…
I am very sensitive to the fact these youth cannot travel. They only know the world through media; they are thirsty for the world and feel forgotten.
Having arrived in front of the wall, I was shocked to see Israeli soldiers filming the demonstrators. Then I was again surprised that in front of these youth, in a peaceful demonstration, the soldiers used tear gas massively. The youth dragged me out of the reach of the gas and put me in safety in a car.
Pascal: The strongest feeling is the brutality that emanates by the simple sight of these soldiers. I knew these images from TV, but the close-range presence of those excessively armed RoboCops is impressive. When the demonstrators started retreating quickly – I suppose in front of the soldiers that started marching – I felt those youth ran away from possible bullets. We are here in a totally different context than in a demonstration in Paris or Marseille.
Three journalists from an Israeli TV station wanted to talk to me. They were disturbed by the content of my statements and my presence in the « wrong camp ». They insisted I should talk to some of the soldiers, through them. They were telling me: “they are good people, you can talk with them”.  They are so convinced that their army is moral that good is on their side. I refused to talk to men placed in a killing machine mode.
A very intense day, that is still difficult to analyze and that will certainly help us understand the Palestinian reality. And we did not finish, we are still left with a week of experiences to live here thanks to the associations that have invited us.


  1. You are totally immoral people. You don't care a bit for the Palestinians. You only use these people to feel good about yourselves. Your system is: Let us blame everybody then we ourselves can feel holy.
    You are the cause of all evil. You are totally fake. You are a walking lie of the worst kind. You betray what you claim to protect. You claim to stand up for human rights and you support those that torture, murder and terrorise. It would be funny if it were not that grave.

  2. Do you know why this wall was put up?

    Do you think it would be better if suicide bombers etc. entered Israel to blow up who ever got blown up? Apparently you do.

    And why can these young people not travel? First of all many palestinians from the west bank can and do enter Israel. Many get medical treatment in Israel's hospitals. Others found jobs in various fields.

    On their other side is Jordan, right? Their moslim brothers, right? So even if you prefer to believe these people cannot travel because of Israel, what do you say about Jordan?

    It is clear that you prefer to hear and believe only one side....

  3. PS ~ Don't think I am happy with the situation and agree with everything happening. I am just relating to what you yourself wrote.

  4. "those excessively armed RoboCops" are Israeli citizens. Most of them have experienced Palestinian terrorism, directly or indirectly. All of them are very aware that they are only thing between between the terrorists and their families. They have no love for either Palestinian or European supporters of these terrorists. Tearing down the wall, which has ended the Palestinian terror campaign, cannot be experienced by these people in any other way then as helping Hamas gaining access to its targets. Which are the families of these 'robocops'.

    You do not understand that, because you do not understand these are human beings. Hence your reference to Robocop.

  5. "I refused to talk"

    That really sums it all up, right? How the French with their recent abhorrent history in North Africa, their bloodthirsty hold on power in that region can ever say stuff like this with a straight face is entirely beyond me.

  6. The question about Jordan is a red herring - Israel controls Palestine's eastern border too, so Palestinians cannot go to Jordan except with Israeli permission. (And if they go, they cannot be sure when or whether they will be allowed back.)

    Israel also controls movement WITHIN Palestine, and they make it impossible to travel between Gaza and WB.

    Why are these French people being vilified just because they are French? They were just reporting what they saw and felt. No need to talk about "bloodthirsty hold on power" and so on - what nationality are you NewMikey that your country has no bloodthist? Surely not Israeli ro an Israeli sympathiser?!